5 steps to help you plan your travel in Europe by; Mikayla Litevich

 Fall break is coming up, has everyone planned their trips yet?!

 After traveling many amazing weekends with the bus2alps program, I decided that I wanted to try something new and plan out my own trip, how hard could it be right? Well, let me tell you, it was one of the most stressful processes I’ve had to deal with here. Planning a trip within a foreign country all on your own while managing classes, internship, and social life does get a bit overwhelming, believe me I know. However, I can finally say that I’m all booked and 100% ready to go! It was definitely a learning experience and that’s why I decided to share with you a few tips to give you a helping hand. Whether it’s for your fall break or any future trips I got ya covered! You are not alone!

Step 1-

Find your travel buddies if you want them and plan ASAP- Did everyone I know tell me to do this? Yes.  Did I listen? No :/

 Seriously though listen, it’s not only a million times cheaper, but it’ll take a huge weight off your back, I promise.

Step 2-

Set aside an entire day or two, and get everything booked at once!

Do lots of research on the places you want to see and just by looking at a map figure out an efficient route, if you’re traveling place to place.  Also, choose how many days you want to spend at each place you’re traveling to.

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Step 3-

Once you know where you want to go and when the next step is to find the cheapest and most time effective way of transportation.

Consider buses, trains, airplanes, taxis, and even renting a car. Here are a few travel agencies that I discovered as the most cost efficient for me:

http://www.ryanair.com/en

http://www.it.lastminute.com/

http://www.edreams.it/

http://www.skyscanner.it/

http://www.eurolines.co.uk/

http://www.terravision.eu/?adws=EN&gclid=CJbB3NySmboCFcmz3goddHYALg

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Step 4-

Next it is time to figure out where you are going to slumber!

In busy season times, the longer you wait to book your hotel or hostel the more expensive it will be.  Something I discovered is that some hostels can actually be nicer than some hotels so don’t be scared away by the word “hostel.” Another way to save some money is to stay in a room with 10-14 people. Hey don’t knock it until you try it! Just think of it as an experience and plus your barely going to be in the room anyways. Get out there and explore, you can sleep when you’re dead!

The best websites to use are:

http://www.hostelworld.com/

http://www.eurobookings.com/

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Another option may be to bring a group of friends and everyone split a cheap Villa.

Step 5-

The Checklist:

□   Passport and visa (bring copies of each as well)

□   Print all your travel tickets (otherwise you have to pay a huge fee)

□   Print reservations

□   Check the weather

□   Pack one carryon bag (yes, that’s right time to downsize)

□   List of places to visit (make an itinerary)

□   Maps

□   Check the currency (exchange at the most efficient location)

□   Spending money (consider night life, shopping, food, museum fees, taxis, etc.)

□   Credit\Debit cards (if you even bring them make sure you notify the company of the places you’re traveling)

□   Don’t forget your camera

□   Make sure to have the emergency numbers saved into your phone before you go (SAFETY FIRST!)

Most importantly have a crazy time!

 

 

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^^^^^^^This is where I’ll be How bout you?!^^^^^^^

 

 

Trick, Treat, or Party! by Mikayla Litevich

Just around 15 years ago a new holiday was brought to the ancient town of Firenze, international traditions were finally adapted and are slowly becoming more developed each year.  Plastic pumpkins, spiders, and Jack-o-lanterns, what other than Halloween of course! As Italians call it, All Saints day eve.

Many study-abroaders ask; “Do we dress up? Do we trick or treat? Where do we go?” Woah, no worries I have a few answers to ease the spirit of Halloween….. or spark it rather!

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To dress up or not to dress up?… that is the question!

Yes! In fact the narrow streets are crowded with all types of zombies, vampires, and witches until 6 in the morning. There are many Halloween themed pub crawls, keep an eye out on the pub crawl “Florence Club” is planning, we promise there will be all kinds of creatures you won’t want to miss out on! Many bars and discos will be holding costume and mask competitions so dress to impress. When I say dress to impress, for all those Americans reading this, ahemm girls! I don’t mean wearing booty shorts and be a hooters girl, no. Andy my fellow “When in Florence” co-worker said, “It’s more like guys dressing ridiculously and girls in dresses.” So be somekind of creature, put some humour or possibly even gore into it.

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^^^^^^^BRAVO ^^^^^^^

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^^^^^^^Samaro^^^^^^^

Don’t come knocking on my door!

Don’t do it, don’t knock on peoples’ doors screaming trick or treat expecting candy. Even after a couple of drinks into your system, try to remember it is a new tradition and the older generations don’t understand and quite frankly don’t even like the new holiday. They will not have candy waiting for you, strictly kids only are allowed to do this and probably only to family member’s houses. So instead buy your own candy at a local 99 cent shop and treat yourselves to the other in-season foods. October is the month for porcini and truffle fungi, roasted chestnuts, pumpkin dishes, and a traditional hearty soup called Ribollita.

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^^^^^^^Ribollita^^^^^^^

Where to go?

What could possibly be a better way to celebrate Halloween but in the 2000 year old city filled with Medieval and Renaissance history? You can find haunted tours through the streets and buildings of Florence and later experience the night life at its finest. If you are looking to escape for the evening you can go to a nearby city called Borgo a Mozzano, in which they hold the biggest annual Halloween party. The Devil’s bridge is known to be the first Halloween celebration of Italy, first held in 1993. This year will be the 19th annual celebration where there will be live music concerts, a path of terror, horror movies, lots of games such as La Notte Nera(black night),themed dinners, and many more. Be sure to read the legend of the Devil’s bridge and celebrate this years’ Halloween right. Visit this website for more information http://www.halloweencelebration.it/programma31.php

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^^^^^^^The Devil’s Bridge^^^^^^^

Fiorentina vs. Juventus – The rivalry continues 20th October 2013

20th October 2013: FIORENTINA vs. JUVENTUS

fvj

The early 80s marked the beginning of a particular period of interest in Fiorentina’s history: the bitter rivalry with Juventus. In the final game of the 1982 season Fiorentina and Juventus faced each other to decide the winners of the league title. Following a dubious penalty decision to decide the game, Juventus were crowned champions for the year, much to the dismay of Fiorentina fans.

Following that, the teams faced each other once again in the 1990 UEFA Cup final, Europe’s second most prestigious club competition. Confident of victory, and elated at reaching the final of the competition for the first time, Fiorentina’s fans were hopeful. Or at least hopeful until the news broke on the day of the final that talented young player (and future Italian soccer legend) Roberto Baggio was to be sold to their rivals. Predictably, Juventus were victorious on the day, and riots broke out on the streets of Florence in protest at the actions of their owners. And so, one of Italian football’s biggest rivalries was born. Newcomers to the city take note: keep your Juventus jersey hidden deep within your suitcase.

Don’t miss out on your tickets for this year’s game! Available for a special student price from the When In Florence office on Via Giuseppe Verdi 46/r.  If you only go and see Fiorentina once whilst you are here, make sure it’s this game!  Tickets WILL sell out, so don’t miss out!

 

Top Secret by Mikayla Litevich

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                Before coming to Florence to study abroad for 4 months I had many people telling me “Florence is small, you can see the whole city in one day.” I became a bit nervous because I was about to stay there for four months, would I run out of things to do? After my arrival it was soon that I found out that even though you might be able to walk from one side of Florence to the other within 30 minutes, you could never capture the entire city in one day, one week, let alone 4 months!  

                The first couple of days you spend your days getting lost and coming upon these infamous monuments such as; the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Croce, Piazza de Signoria, and many more. Then you find different places to eat the most delicious pizza and the creamiest gelato you will ever have. Then you realize the shopping, the addicting cappuccinos, and the espresso that give you a kick in the butt in the morning. Until one day you have the urge to touch the Duomo and notice the detail on every single square.  That’s when you realize WOAH! Pause….. How could I ever capture every last detail of this entire city?

                I have now been here for 1 month and 6 days and I know that I still don’t know even the half of it. However, one of the perks of living here is you get to unfold all the little secrets that Florence has to offer.  Every day is a mystery to solve!  Here are a few secrets that I have discovered with my Florence detective skills so far. As long as you promise to keep them between just you and me ;o).

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SECRET 1:

                Okay so you might have all heard of “The Secret Bakery” or maybe you haven’t, but either way it is a huge mystery to solve when you’re here. Late at night around 2:30-3:30am you need to start your search. The only way you can find the secret bakery is sniffing it out. So put your dog noses on and smell out the sweet smell of a bakery. Don’t even try to ask one of the locals where it is because they will act like they don’t know what the secret bakery even is. Trust me I tried! And don’t ask another student or one of the “When in Florence” guys where it is, because that’s CHEATING!  Even though that’s what I did. But to say the least it was THE best pastry I had in my entire 21 years of life! Fresh out of the oven, sweet-tooth satisfying, gooey, mouth-watering, can’t get enough kind of pastry. And it was only 1 Euro! Bottom line make sure you find it.

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SECRET 2:

                Have you ever looked at the traffic signs? The city is based around walking so why would you ever look at the traffic signs, right? Wrong, look at them there a site to see! A local artist named Clet Abraham, originally from France, has been rebelliously placing stickers on each of the traffic signs since 2010. These stickers have created a personality to the streets of Florence creating controversy and a bit of humor for the people.  Through research I found that he is actually committing an act that is against the laws of the road and he has received a couple of tickets to pay off when getting caught in the act of placing these stickers. However, they are easy removable adhesives, so why haven’t they taken them off yet? Personally, I believe that even the law can appreciate a rebellious and unique act of art especially in Florence, the city of art. 

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SECRET 3:

                The Dollar Bill Building, “WHAT THE HECK?! Is anyone seeing this right now? “Those were my thoughts when I first saw the building. I immediately wanted to show everyone back in America this bizarre building. There is American Dollar bills placed along the entire outside of the building. At first I thought they were real, as others did too in which you can see at the bottom of the building they ripped the bills off. (Dumb Tourists) Can I say that now?  Through research I have found that they are actually fake bills. The building itself is called Sant’Orsola located in Via Panicale. It was originally a Convent that turned into a Tobacco factory and later was used for University classes and then became abandoned. Through its decades of abandonment, archaeologists discovered 8 skeletons. One in which they claim to be the sitter of the famous Mona Lisa painting! The location of the building became a highly populated area of immigrants, in which it became a violent and problematic street. This was unfortunate because it used to be a highly important area and it should not be forgotten. This unique approach to art surely raised awareness of the entire area. The Italian Province has now announced the restoration of the monumental building and is investing 46 million euro in its renovation. The Dollar bill act of art certainly helped the preservation of the importance of the Sant’Orsola complex.

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Secret 4:

Have you noticed the random white marble circle located on the ground in the Piazza del Duomo? Well in the 1600’s it is said that the top of the Duomo was struck by lightning and the copper ball rolled down the Duomo and shattered leaving an indent on the street and they marked where it had landed. That’s what the white circle is for!  The copper ball has been replaced with an even bigger one today.

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“If you don’t know, now you know!”

That’s all the secrets you get for now! Thanks for reading :o)